Lancashire Police Action on Rogue Traders

Over 1,300 spoken to in rogue trader operation

OVER 1,300 residents were spoken to across Lancashire in a week-long operation to target rogue traders and pushy doorstep sellers.

More than 400 police officers were involved in the operation along with staff from trading standards and other government agencies in the week of activities aimed to target rogue traders and highlight the dangers that consenting to have work carried out by cold callers can bring.

The operation saw increased police patrols in areas where older and vulnerable people live and over 10,000 advice packs distributed between Monday 17 October and Sunday 23 October.

144 businesses were spoken to by officers to remind them of their responsibilities.

In addition 334 vehicles were stopped on roads across the county to check for offences and seven vehicles were seized.

Insp Wendy Bower from Lancashire Constabulary said: “We hope that this operation helped to raise awareness of how residents can work with us to prevent becoming a victim of such crime.

“The results should also send a message to offenders that we are working to tackle the issues and, if we suspect that they are involved such criminality, they will be targeted.

“Crime levels in Lancashire are at an all time low and it is our firm intention to ensure they remain that way. We will continue to do all we can to make it difficult for rogue traders to operate in the county.”

In the past year (1 August 2010 to 30 September 2011), Lancashire Trading Standards received 349 complaints about cold callers including builders, driveways, roofing and bogus charity collectors. 882 complaints were received about bogus sales in the same period.

In addition 456 complaints were received about unwanted unsolicited scam mail and 990 complaints were received about unsolicited scam telephone calls.

County Councillor Albert Atkinson, deputy leader for Lancashire County Council, said: "If people only remember one thing as a result of this campaign it should be not to do business on the doorstep.

"Our Trading Standards Service works year round to protect consumers from unscrupulous doorstep callers and this high-profile week of action only helps to reinforce the message that they're not welcome in Lancashire.

"The Help Direct service keeps a register of honest and reliable tradesmen so if you're thinking of having work done they're a good place to start."

People should report cases of rogue traders or uninvited doorstep callers to Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06. Help Direct is available on 0303 333 11 11. Anyone with information that would lead to the arrest of any distraction burglar or rogue trader should ring Lancashire Constabulary on 0845 1 25 35 45 or call Crimestoppers, the national charity, anonymously on 0800 555 111. Always dial 999 in an emergency.

Lyndsay Milligan

Community Safety Officer

Western Division

Int: 404076

Ext: 01253 604076

Lyndsay.Milligan@lancashire.pnn.police.uk